You should really ask first, though — that’s the advice of the people who launched the effort 30 years ago today on January 21. Founded by a minister and social services worker in Michigan, the day has since become internationally embraced.
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Every year the National Hugging Day website names a new “Most Huggable” person. This year they are honoring Tim Harris, a man with Down syndrome and founder of Tim’s Place, an Albuquerque, New Mexico restaurant that has officially offered a free hug with every meal.
Even more perfect is the fact that Tim’s birthday is today. For each of the last two National Hugging Days, Tim has held a two-day “Hugathon” to raise money for Firefighters Random Acts, a local charity letting first responders pay for random acts of kindness around Albuquerque. His hugs have brought in $19,000 for the charity.
The Albuquerque diner is now moving to Denver, Colorado where he and his girlfriend are relocating to open a new Tim’s Place.
In 2013, Scott Van Duzer, owner of the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Italian Restaurant, won the award for an extremely daring hug.
Months earlier, his shop in Fort Pierce, Florida was visited by a campaigning President Obama and to everyone’s surprise, including the Secret Service, Scott actually picked up the President for an impromptu bear hug that made the news nationwide.
In 2006 an Australian Free Hugs video launched a movement that especially appealed to young people–hold signs and offer “Free Hugs” in public squares. With 70 million YouTube views, this inspiring story about Juan, the hugger became one of the most popular videos ever presented on the Good News Network.
(WATCH the video below about Tim’s charitable hug-a-thon)
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